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"Macbeth effect"- study correlates cleanliness and conscience!!

hong and Liljenquist.

The next study was conducted on 27 different students. The students read a short story in which the lead character either behaved ethically or unethically. In the story, there is a prestigious law firm. The lead character gets a document that a colleague requires for a case.

The main character gives the document to the colleague in one form of the story, saving the colleague's case. While in the other form, the document is shredded by the lead character to sabotage the colleague's career. Subsequently, the students rated their attraction for cleansing products, snacks, batteries, or CD cases.

The students who read the sabotaging version went for the cleansing products while those who read the other version didn't prefer any particular type of product.

The third study was conducted on 32 students using the same story. After reading the story, the students were given a choice of a free gift of a pencil or an antiseptic cleansing wipe. The wipe was chosen by two-thirds of the students who read the unethical version, compared with one-third of those who read the ethical version.

The final study was conducted on 45 students who were asked to describe an ethical or unethical deed from their past. The wipes were given to some of them. Subsequently, the students were asked to volunteer for another study. Almost 75% of those who had not got the wipes, volunteered compared with 41% of those who had gotten wipes.

"Presumably," the researchers write, "participants who had cleansed their hands before being solicited for help would be less motivated to volunteer because the sanitation wipes had already washed away their moral stains and restored a suitable moral self."

"It remains to be seen whether clean hands really do make a pure heart, but our studies indicate that they at least provide a clean conscience after moral trespasses," write Zhong and Liljenquist.
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